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Sandhamn, Sweden: The Avantime ORC European Championship got off to a perfect start today, with two of seven planned inshore races held in ideal 10-15 knot conditions. All 60 entries from 8 countries divided into three classes raced a 5-leg 9.5-mile windward-leeward course in Race 1, while Classes 1 and 2 raced an 8.0-mile 5-leg course in Race 2 and Class 3 races a 4-leg 6.4-mile course.
"Except for two general recalls and a black flag start to Race 1 for the 30 eager entries in Class 3, the fleet got off to a great start this week," said PRO Eckard Reinke. "The wind filled in faster than we thought, so there were no delays needed except for spacing the starts to minimize the traffic in the course area."
One way to avoid this traffic was to have the largest and fastest boat on the course, which no doubt helped Thomas Nilsson's Norwegian team on their TP52 Trucknor Wolfpack to take two first place finishes in Class 1. The team has been well-honed after years of racing together, but suffered a setback yesterday when their regular tactician had to rush home to Norway on a family emergency.
Leading Class 2 on consistent scores of 2-2 is Priit Tammemagi's Estonian X-41 Premium, but the competition is not far behind: Bengt Falkenberg's Swedish First 40 from Gothenburg Teknova/Albatross Racing is only one point back on 4-1, and Silva another 3 points behind the Swedes.
With 30 boats on the starting line, Class 3 will always be crowded this week, but the early favorites are already starting to rise to the top after two races.
Mikhel Kosk's Estonian NM38 Sugar has taken an early lead on scores of 4-1, but this only on a tie-break with Martin Nilsson's Swedish Salona 37 Feelgood, who has a 2-3 scoreline.
Tomorrow racing will not start until early afternoon as teams prepare for the offshore race, to be sailed in two parts: the first start will be 50-60 miles and is intended to be sailed overnight with a scoring gate. The race then continues for a length determined tomorrow by race managers as they evaluate the weather forecast and look at course and mark options available in the outer archipelago. The overall race length is intended to be about 24 hours in duration, so exact length will be dependent on weather, and the race managers may set a length which may appear long but will have the option to be shortened at any mark. -- Dobbs Davis
Click on image to enlarge.
The Redwing class is again one of the biggest and most competitive White Group fleets. A minute before the start, four boats were already positioned on the line and were soon joined by more. At the gun, three boats were the wrong side of the line, including one of the top two boats after the first couple of days of racing and last year's overall winner, John Raymond and Matt Alexander's Harlequin. Only one boat, George Greenwood's Rosetta, returned to restart.
James Axtell and Lucy Benham's Paroquet, and Roderick and Henry Thorpe's Redwitch initially looked well placed. However, as with earlier starts it was the two inshore boats - Bruce Huber's Quail and Rupert and Michael MacInnes' Avocet - that were first to get the benefit of the wind funnelling out of the Medina estuary and quickly pulled ahead into a useful early lead. Huber was also ahead at the finish, leading Caroline and Edmund Peel's Redstart ll and Andrew, Sabrina and Edward Eddy's Plover over the line.
At one stage it looked as though the day's second band of rain would hold off until late afternoon, but it started accelerating eastwards again, with heavy rain re-starting at around 1430. It eased considerably 40 minutes later, leaving very light airs behind. Over a period of 10 minutes the windspeed dropped from 22 knots to just 5 knots. At the same time the wind swung more than 60 degrees towards the west, before temporarily returning to the south.
In the Quarter Ton class Whiskers, skippered by Liz Rushall and Lincoln Redding, finished at 1450, to take their first win of the regatta, following second and third places on the first two days. Tony Hayward's Blackfun was next to cross the line, six minutes later, but was beaten into third place on corrected time by one of the lowest-rating boats in the fleet, Eric Reynolds' Magnum Evolution. -- Rupert Holmes
* Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week is renowned for attracting some of the best sailors in the world and today, three of them joined an extreme kitesurfer to go head to head in the 'Volvo Sailing Speed Challenge' - a never before seen charity showdown.
Photo by Mark Lloyd, www.lloydimages.com. Click on image to enlarge.
In an unexpected twist, solo Round-the-World Yachtsman, Alex Thomson, who was the sailor least expected to win ahead of the race, nailed it taking the speed title and £1,000 for 'Sported' - the UK's leading sporting legacy charity of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.
However it wasn't easy for Alex, as he fought off strong competition from Olympic windsurfing medallist, Nick Dempsey and the Moth, raced by Olympic gold medallist, Paul Goodison. Sam Lutman-Pauc, more comfortable in extreme kitesurfing conditions and long distance speed challenges struggled with the short racecourse and ripping tide.
The race was delayed due to the light wind, but the four guys finally got up and out at around 18.00. The conditions in the Solent were challenging and tricky, the wind varied from 10 to 15 [knots], with two to three [knots] of current and a strong tide that went in the same direction as the wind.
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470 Worlds Open
A gusty breeze for the first say of the 5 race Qualification Stage at the 2013 470 World Championships in La Rochelle, France. No surprise to see the Olympic Champions Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie of New Zealand leading the 470 Women fleet, and Olympic Champion Mat Belcher with crew Will Ryan at the front of the 470 Men.
The breeze was around 14 knots, building to 18 knots by the end of the day, with rain greeting teams in the boat park this morning.
The men's and women's fleets were today seeded into fleets based on past performance, and will be re-seeded for tomorrow based on their overall leaderboard position today.
Australia's Mat Belcher and Will Ryan opened their Championship pursuit in first overall on the leaderboard, from a 1,1,2 scoreline. 2012 Olympic Gold medallist Belcher has won the 470 World Championships with Malcolm
The only team to beat the Australian's in the yellow fleet today were Greece's Panagotis Mantis/Pavlos Kagialis who took out the race 3 victory.
470 Men - Top 5 Overall
1. Mat Belcher/Will Ryan (AUS) - 2 pts
2. Pierre Leboucher/Nicolas Le Berre (FRA) - 7 pts
3. Paul Snow-Hansen/Daniel Willcox (NZL) - 9 pts
4. Panagiotis Mantis/Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) - 10 pts
5. Nicholas Rogers/Elliot Willis (GBR) - 10 pts
Olympic Champions Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie from New Zealand control the 470 Women leaderboard with a 2,1,1 scoreline in the blue fleet. France's Camille Lecointre/Mathilde Geron raced in the yellow fleet and sit just 3 points behind. The two teams will only come up against each other in the finals stage on Wednesday, and last met at the 470 European Championships in July. There the French pair won the European Championship title, with the New Zealanders finishing second in the Open European Championship.
470 Women - Top 5 Overall
1. Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL) - 2 pts
2. Camille Lecointre/Mathilde Geron (FRA) - 5 pts
3. Xiaomei Xu/Chunyan Yu (CHN) - 6 pts
4. Hannah Mills/Saskia Clark (GBR) - 9 pts
5. Afrodite Kyranakou/Anneloes van Veen (NED) 11 pts
Two races will be held for all fleets on Tuesday 6 August with a scheduled start time of 1400 hours.
Neil McDonald Joins Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing VOR Campaign
Photo by Ian Roman, www.ianroman.com. Click on image to enlarge.
Six-time Volvo Ocean Race legend McDonald, from Brighton in the UK, has completed more than 200,000 nautical miles in the race over a nearly two decade long offshore career. Alongside Walker, he will lead Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's technical programmes, training camps and crew development to streamline the team's victory pursuit in the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race, starting next October in Alicante, Spain.
Meanwhile, Adil Khalid, who during the last race became the first Arab sailor to compete in and complete the global event, joins the team this week in the UK for his competitive Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing return, taking part in the Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week's Big Boat Races (6-8th August) before crewing the team's defence of its Rolex Fastnet Race record next week (11-13th August).
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing will announce its full crew line-up in the first quarter of 2014, when it will also receive its new one-design Volvo 65 race yacht.Abu Dhabi city, the UAE capital, will host the third 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race stopover from mid-December 2014 until 3rd January 2015.
Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
Matt Belcher (AUS)
'Two of the most remarkable sailors on the planet [with Francis Joyon] and I have to choose one...' - Martin Gravare voted for Belcher; 'His professionalism is only matched by his integrity and his humility' - Kaye Smith; 'Commitment!' - Michelle Creevy; 'A fellow Moth sailor, a top bloke and a funken awesome sailor' - James Mackenzie; 'A good man and now a total legend in terms of world 470 sailing' - Deni Pilipenko; 'Go Matt!' - Jane Belcher; 'Matthew is a great sailor and a good man' - Victor Kovalenko.
This month's nominees:
The 39-year-old French skipper survived a broken forestay and some tactical disasters on leg 3 to win his second consecutive Figaro race. Runs in the family, too, since his father Patrick won the event - then La Course de l'Aurore - back in 1979. In spite of his subsequent successes Eliès remains best known for his dramatic rescue after breaking his femur in the Southern Ocean in the 2008 Vendée Globe
It's quite rare for a top oceanic adventurer to also be a top competitor in the more refined echelons of racing but Sroka is an exception. The three-time kitesurf World Cup winner recently completed an epic 275-mile 'surf' from Brittany to Cork in Ireland, one of three major offshore feats he will attempt this summer. Interestingly, the 37-year-old French sailor did not take up kitesurfing until he was 23. The crossing took Sroka 17 hours...
Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Harken McLube, Dubarry & Musto. Who needs silverware, our prizes are usable!
Cast your vote, submit comments, even suggest a candidate for next month at
Clipper Fleet With Race In Rolex Sydney Hobart
Photo by onEdition. Click on image to enlarge.
Having started the 40,000-mile Clipper Race on September 1, from London, the 12 new Clipper 70 yachts will arrive in Sydney from Albany, Western Australia, on the fourth of its eight legs in the race.
This will be a first Rolex Sydney Hobart for the Clipper Race fleet and its 12 matched Clipper 70 yachts, but not so for the race's originator, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who competed in the 2010 Rolex Sydney Hobart aboard Titania of Cowes.
Amongst the Clipper Race fleet will be a number of Australian crew members and two Australian skippers who have sailed the Rolex Sydney Hobart previously. Sydney-based Chris Hollis (33) has taken part twice.
Damian Parnham (48) is the other skipper, having sailed the Hobart aboard Brindabella, the 1991 Hobart line honours victor.
Neilpryde UK Laser Nationals
With entries from several international associations, a strong Irish contingent and sailors from across the home countries this year's Nationals were always going to be keenly contested. The 220 competitors were divided into 53 Standard rigs, 127 Radials split into Yellow & Blue Groups for the first four day's racing and 40 Laser 4.7s, which have their own course and race team.
In a good SSW breeze of 20kts all three fleets completed their scheduled two races each. In the Standard fleet Portugal's Gustavo Lima won the first race ahead of Australian Luke Elliott before home sailor Jack Wetherell took the 2nd gun. In the Radial Fleet there were two wins for John Booth who leads overnight from Jon Emmett (2, 1) with Matthew Stephens (3, 2) in 3rd place. Irish helm Patrick Cahill was the unluckiest sailor of the day recording two premature starts under the black flag. (Oscar Wilde's quip comes to mind). In the Laser 4.7 fleet 16 year old Romas Ovcinnikov's trip from Lithuania has been very worthwhile so far as he won both his races ahead of Ross Banham.
Racing continues for the rest of the week until Friday. The championships are being sponsored by NeilPryde, Harken UK & Nutshellaw (Solicitors).
The full results can be found at www.laser.org.uk
Artemis Racing To Compete In Louis Vuitton Cup Semi Finals
Alameda, California, USA: Artemis Racing, representing the Royal Swedish Yacht Club, will make its Louis Vuitton Cup debut tomorrow. The team will face Luna Rossa in a best-of-seven Semi Final series scheduled to start at 1:15PM PST. The winner of this series will race against Emirates Team New Zealand in the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals beginning August 17th.
In the past two months, Artemis Racing's shore team has worked seven days a week preparing and testing the team's second AC72, "Big Blue", which was launched on July 22, 2013. A new wing was also completed to accompany the new boat.
Since its first sail on July 24th, the sailing team has been working on sailing and foiling techniques with their new boat.
In honor of fallen teammate Andrew "Bart" Simpson, a ribbon will be worn on the sleeve of the sailing team uniform and be displayed on the AC72 wing and support boats.
Morgan's Ghost Club Swan 42 (NYYC Swan 42) #5 is available for sale. This boat has had no expense spared in preparation for competition at the highest level. The electronics inventory was expertly done by Yachtsoft in New York. The system is well thought out and very user friendly. Morgan's Ghost is located in Bermuda and has seen little use and is ready to go. She is stored out of the water for the winter season.
Brokerage through Sparkman & Stephens LLC.:
Complete listing details and seller contact information at uk.yachtworld.com
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